Saturday, March 07, 2009
The odds of me racing in my first half marathon at the end of the month are looking better. The week of rest seems to have been helpful.
Last night I ran a slow, easy pace around the track and was surprised to get in over 4 miles without significant pain . . . really, no pain, just some discomfort. I took it very easy and walked a lap whenever I felt the strained muscles start to tighten. A quick stretching break provided some relief about mid-way.
The first thing I wanted to do when I got home was to log in and shout out that I was back in the race. Then I thought better of it; better to be cautiously optimistic and wait until this morning to see how I felt. Gingerly I rolled out of bed; no pain. Then I stretched a bit, pressing my ribs and testing the muscles. Still no pain!! Wow, the first day in almost a month that I haven't been hurting.
Until now I didn't realize how much I counted on the excitement and challenges of running to carry into other areas of my life. I was getting very discouraged and beginning to think that the injury was going to take months to heal. But I wasn't quite ready to give up my goal of running the half marathon.
The next two weeks will still be a challenge--when I was in pain, I knew I had to take it easy. That automatic governor is now gone, but I'll still have to restrain my natural tendency to try to make tremendous leaps in distance and speed. It's baby steps for me--running slow and easy every other day next week and then re-evaluate my progress.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
I popped out of bed in the mood for a long run of 12 miles on flat terrain. It's not often that I'm eager about the long runs, so I was expecting this run to be one of those great runs where you're transported to another place.
I warmed up, threw on my Camelback, and started down the trail. The ground was soft, which was a welcome relief to my legs from the pounding they usually get on pavement. It was about 34 degrees, the sun was shining, and fluffy snowflakes were starting to drift down. It was really beautiful; I wished I had brought a camera. Only a few people were on the trail walking their dogs. After mile three, I had the trail to myself. All I could hear was the water flowing down the Little Juniata and a few small creatures scampering in the woods when I ran by.
At mile 4 I stopped to ditch the Camelback, drink as much Gatorade as I could stomach at once, and unzip my jacket, and take off my mittens. It wasn't taking long to become overheated. I felt good after taking off the Camelback; it felt constricting while running.
My breathing was better than it had been in about 6 weeks. I've had some kind of inflammation in my chest/lungs that has resulted in a nagging cough. It hasn't affected most of my runs, but there have been a few runs that I've had to cut short because I couldn't get enough air. But today felt good, and I knew I wouldn't have to worry about it.
I did have some concerns about a muscle I pulled in my waist on Friday while doing side plank dips. It hurt whenever I coughed and a sudden wrong move could be extremely painful. But it didn't hurt when I walked, so I thought that running wouldn't be a problem.
At mile five I had a decision to make--press on to mile 6 where I would turn around and head back or call it quits now. The pulled muscle was beginning to hurt just a bit, and I was making compensation for it as I ran. I kept running while struggling with the decision, and then thought what the heck, I'm already past the mile 5 marker, I'll keep going.
My time at the 6 mile marker was 62:18. A little slower than I had hoped, but I wasn't discouraged. Everything I've read said long training runs should be at a slower pace than the short runs, so maybe I was right on track. And maybe I could make up a little time on the run back--it would be an imperceptible decline.
Between mile 7 and 8, I quit looking at my watch. The pulled muscle was screaming for me to pull over and give it a rest, but I knew if I stopped I would not be able to continue. My knees were beginning to ache and the neuroma on my left foot was beginning to throb, too. I tried to distract myself from the aches by watching the water and looking for wildlife and thinking about the lovely Valentine's Dinner I'd be having with my husband.
By mile nine a fast walker could have passed me by. But I was still jogging, with an occasional spurt of energy at a slightly faster clip. Once or twice I got into a good rhthym that let me forget about the pain. The temperature had begun to drop and I was regretting leaving my mittens with the Camelback. I was no longer looking for wildlife--my head was hung low and all I could see were my shuffling feet. Even small twigs and branches on the trail seemed like big obstacles.
At mile 10 I put on my Cambelback and did some stretching. The achilles tendons felt as if they were going to snap. I tried to resume jogging, but the pain in my waist was too much. Not only was I hurting, but now I was very, very angry at myself. My advice to all runners when they ask about aches and pains is to ice, rest and take it easy and don't risk a more serious injury that will take longer to recover from. Every runner I've ever talked to has encouraged me to slowly push my limits, but to be cautious and to not push through injuries. And I ignored them, and now I am afraid I may be paying the price.
Just after I started walking, I spotted my husband ahead on the trail walking our dog. I walked as quickly as I could to shorten the distance so he could hear me calling to him. After a half dozen calls, he finally turned around and saw me waving my hands wildly.
We walked together the next mile, which may have been the longest. I was dressed for running, not walking, and now I was was shivering from the cold. I was so grateful when we passed the 1 mile marker and my husband started up the embankment. He had parked short of the trailhead. At first I was going to continue walking back to the trailhead, but then came to my senses. I wouldn't be gaining anything, and I needed to get back home to start caring for the pulled muscle.
A few hours after getting home and taking a hot shower, I started to feel human again. Maybe the pulled muscle wasn't too serious. Thankfully, the evening was not ruined. We had a lovely candlelight Valentine's dinner at home.
Today my muscles are all very tight--it will take some yoga to loosen them. The pulled muscle is very painful. I expect that this week I'll have to settle for walking, and I doubt I'll be able to do any core exercises.
My first half marathon isn't until the end of March, so I have time to recover. Hopefully I've learned a valuable lesson and won't ignore the advice of experienced runners.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Today's weigh in was disheartening. I gained back the weight I lost last wee--less than a pound--but if I keep this up it's a fast track to no where. At this rate, I will not meet my goal of losing 3 lbs. this month. There's no doubt why--I've eaten more calories this week. The nutrition tracker is a very helpful tool, as long as you're honest about logging in every bite.
The previous week my husband had been out of town, so I ate smaller meals--lots more salad and vegetables. I love to cook, so as soon as he came home, I began cooking again. And even though I watched portion size, it was about 100-200 more calories per day.
My goal then for next week is to reduce the number of calories each day, and work in an additional 30 minutes of exercise.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Not a bad week, but I had hoped to lose more weight than I did--just 0.7 lbs, but it is moving in the right direction. It is still possible to lose 3 lbs. this month, but I'm going to have to do better. It's difficult to lose those "last 10 lbs." I've lost, and found, them more times than I care to remember.
Nutrition: I'm averaging 1,350 calories a week. I brought the carbs and protein into better balance by adding a soy shake for lunch. It tastes fine, but it doesn't settle on my stomach very well. Still need to increase fiber--averaging 21 grams, but I'd like to get it to 30. That's a tall order! I'm very pleased with the amount of cholesterol I'm eating--less than 100 mg. per day.
I've been light on the cardio, (again . ) but that will be remedied by getting back to my long weekend runs. I have to find a way to work them in even if the ground is icy or snowy--March 28 is "DO IT!" day--my first half marathon (Did I really say first? Does that mean there will be a 2nd?). Strength training is going well--at least twice a week at the gym and SparkPeople Boot Camp every day. Those short boot Camp videos are great
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I started the year out making a list of people and things I am grateful for. But yesterday I remembered that I missed a very important group--my neighbors.
We are always ready to lend a hand to one another when it's needed. The teenagers across the street have mowed our lawn, raked our leaves, and shoveled the snow without even being asked (maybe it was a hint that we should be taking better care of our property). And I've seen them helping the other neighbors, too. We hire them to dog sit whenever we vacation and can't take the dog. Whenever I hear disparaging remarks about today's kids, I remind others that the "bad" ones are the minority. Most teenagers are wonderful, even they can be trying at times.
Other neighbors welcome my intrusion into their gardens when they're in full bloom and share their enthusiasm, knowledge, and seeds with me. Sadly, I have a brown thumb, but green with envy at their botanical accomplishments.
Neighbors have also trucked away bagged leaves and trimmed brush--without saying a word.
They also keep an eye on the house when we're not there. Last year, a neighbor noticed a contractor working on the house engaging in non-professional activity and alerted us. One also called me when a contractor's truck was showing up at our house at odd hours when we were on vacation--he was supposed to be there, but we had forgotten to let the neighbors know. That really gives us peace of mind when we leave the house.
Yesterday was another good example. Our dog had major surgery on Thursday and came home on Friday. I spent a wonderful long bonding weekend with her, almost never leaving her side. She's able to get around, just a bit slower, and she's still just a bit unsteady on the stairs. I didn't feel comfortable leaving her alone on Monday, but I had to go back to work. If she had to go to the bathroom, she has to go to the basement to use her dog-door, and I was afraid she would fall--so I asked a neighbor to stop in once in the morning and again mid-afternoon to let her out and check on her. My neighbor offered to keep her all day at her house instead, so I walked her, her bed, water bowl, chewy and a couple of treats over early Monday morning. When I arrived home I ran right over to pick her up. The neighbor's house smelled heavenly--she had baked a batch of dog biscuits for my pooch. You can't find better neighbors than that.
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